The Seriousness Of Bullying - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

The Seriousness of Bullying

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 23, 2023 12:37 am

Bullying is one serious issue that many don’t seem to take seriously despite the grave implications it can have on children and even adults. The issue has been grossly undermined by society, to the extent of normalising it under the impression that it’s part of life and a survival lesson. Ragging was common in most Indian universities, colleges and hostels a decade ago until people started realising that it’s not a healthy way of interaction and socialisation after many took extreme steps because of the humiliation and embarrassment they went through in what many thought was “harmless”. Incidents of ragging and bullying, be it at home, school, college or hostel appear to have dropped over the years following various measures being initiated by educational institutions to curb it but it is still prevalent. In fact, its ugly face is beginning to surface in less developed and rural areas of late. Surveys have revealed that a significant number of children in India are still being bullied daily, be it in the form of mocking one’s disabilities, poor academic performance, body shaming, looks or gender. The menace has grabbed the attention of Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE) as well, prompting it to direct all the educational institutions in the state to adopt a zero tolerance policy on bullying and ragging in schools and hostels, citing instances of students seeking transfer of schools due to the menace. It has also asked school administrations to have a robust anti-bullying and ragging committee to curb the issue, and a counselor to help the victims socially, emotionally, and academically. It’s a step in the right direction, a step that all educational institutions should welcome.

While the UGC has managed to curb ragging significantly at college level by enacting regulations against such acts in 2009 and by setting up anti-ragging committees, two years after Raghavan Committee Report termed bullying as a serious abuse of human rights, the same result is not seen at school level despite educational institutions being asked to take serious action against bullies and to set up committees to deal with such cases. Unlike college-going students (above 18 years), who can be booked under various sections of the IPC for offence, there is no specific law in India to handle bullying in schools. The most severe punishment a juvenile bully can be given is rustication. But considering the negative impact bullying can have on children’s self esteem, mental health, academic performance, and psychological wellbeing, schools should play a prominent role in addressing the issue by creating awareness through innovative and creative ways like visual presentations and activities that will help develop empathy for others, especially the weak. School authorities should not only create a conducive environment for children to learn but also ensure that no child becomes a victim of bullying. Participation and support of parents and communities is also necessary to nip the problem in the bud.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 23, 2023 12:37:42 am
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